Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Soulcraft Week 4

I'm not even close to being done, mostly because I don't want this experience to end. I'm hoping everyone wants to continue making a weekly trip to Soulcraft even if it's just to high five between machines and drink way too much coffee.

I was struck this week by so many profound conversations, I hope I can capture it all... 

First, I had a great conversation with Karen about immigrants who are brand new to the district AND to the country. I have several students this year who've just come to the United States weeks ago. I want to know how to teach them but I don't yet. I'm not sure they need to score higher on First Sound Fluency, but rather to follow the rules of this game we call school. When to sit on the carpet, when to line up, when to speak and when to be quiet... Lakewood appears to have a much larger population of immigrants, of course, but the words that struck me from Karen were "language acquisition." I know plenty about language acquisition for students who have autism or Down syndrome. I know what the next steps are with a child who can't speak or doesn't speak at all. But, I have no idea what to do for these kids who have language, just not the English language.

This one 5 minute conversation about language acquisition led to my search over the weekend for ESL podcasts and research. I'm hoping I'm now on my way to helping our new friends...

Next, as we were planning to meet up before the Browns game, I was surprised at the comraderie we've already formed. These are the easiest friendships I've ever forged, maybe because we are having a shared experience, or maybe because it's just great to be around like- minded people like Tom and the friend he brought along. Each of these professionals truly know who they are and continues to evolve as that person day in and day out. 

Jim's kids joined us for a bit to talk about school, homework, Minecraft, technology, group projects, teachers, and more. I was moved by the depth of their responses and their honesty. They don't know us, they didn't need to impress, they were simply genuine and true. Kids are amazing, I realized again. 

I stayed after a bit and engaged in even more amazing conversation with Sean, Jim, and Pete. I lost all track of time until I realized that I was expected in Toledo in a little under 15 minutes from that time... As I ran out of Soulcraft and jumped in my car, I was struck by two words Peter shared when supporting Sean, and all educators who feel discouraged. Viscerally involved. 

Viscerally involved.

"At least you are... viscerally involved," he said with a hand outstretched to prove his point. 

I can only hope to be so viscerally involved in every one of my life experiences. 

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